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Demo Rough Cuts


dan88z

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My drummer and I worked on cleaning up and mixing some of our new demos tonight, so I wanted to post them so you guys could hear them. They are clearly not done, but are complete enough that I don't mind sharing them. All the instruments were recorded live, and then we over dubbed the vocals in 1 take to make it as live sounding as possible. Consequently, there are some "issues" with some of the backups but it is what it is. If we had an interface that could accomodate more than 8 inputs, we'd have done the whole thing live with no overdubs at all.

 

Beat It

Don't You Forget About Me

Feel Like a Woman

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Hmmm, for some reason they aren't opening on my computer. I'll try again later when I get to the office. Might work better there.

 

As far as overdubbing vocals goes, there's nothing wrong with doing that. IMO. Nobody is going to give you extra points or money because you say it was all done live in one take. I think the goal should be to provide an accurate representation of your best live performance. If re-doing a vocal part here or there or fixing a few flubs makes for a better performance, then do that. If you start adding a bunch of stuff you can't/don't do live, then THAT'S when I think you've got a problem with mis-representing your band.

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If you start adding a bunch of stuff you can't/don't do live, then THAT'S when I think you've got a problem with mis-representing your band.

 

It's easy enough to sample that kind of stuff, isn't it? I think we only have one demo song that uses any sampling, but we definitely use sampling live: We don't go as far as adding 6-voice harmony parts (:idea:), but we use a keyboard intro, a sonic boom (triggered by a foot pedal), a backwards swell, etc. - all triggered by our drummer.

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It's easy enough to sample that kind of stuff, isn't it? I think we only have one demo song that uses any sampling, but we definitely use sampling live: We don't go as far as adding 6-voice harmony parts (
:idea:
), but we use a keyboard intro, a sonic boom (triggered by a foot pedal), a backwards swell, etc. - all triggered by our drummer.

 

That's all cool. I'm just saying: don't have anything on your demo people won't hear at the gig. Don't misrepresent yourself. I hear a lot of demos with more guitar tracks then there are guitarists, or 3 part female vocals when there's only one girl in the band. Maybe they sample that stuff live, but more likely they just don't sound as good. But going back and fixing some botched notes or cleaning up some vocals? I think that is perfectly legitimate.

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we over dubbed the vocals in 1 take to make it as live sounding as possible.

 

 

+1 to not getting too caught up in this idea.

 

I'm not sure where the bar is set, but it seems like there is room for more passion in the lead vocals of "Beat It" and "Feel Like A Woman" ("Don't You Forget About Me" has a more mellow vibe anyway), but to get there, I'd think a singer would need to do at least 3-4 takes. Naturally they will pull back a little if it's only one take (or at least I would).

 

Of course you can't "bring it" in every song all night long in a live setting, but I'd think at least some of your demos should reflect those several times a night when the singer really "goes for it".

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That's true rangefinder- and I don't think those are her best songs either, but we wanted to show the diversity of the band which is why those made the list. On the actual demo they'll be 1 minute clips so they should do their job.

 

We have 6 more to mix and then another 5-6 to record, and some of those definitely have her normal edge going on. We just went down the list as they appeared on the computer and started mixing.

 

I should have pointed out, it was the backups we did 1 take on. She did a couple takes on some of the songs, as did the drummer who sings the male vocal cuts.

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Yeah, I'm with Rangefinder. The clips sound good (tight band!) but I've heard your singer "bring it" a bit more on some the live clips you've posted. It sounds like she's holding back a little. You definiately want to show your musical diversity on your demo--just make sure you have a couple of her best moments in there as well!

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I think their pretty dang good. Drums don't sound as fat as I like them, but that happens when you can't record in a studio. Some audio compromises need to be made. I thought "Don't You Forget About Me" was great. The singer's voice captured the original very well, as I recall. His tone and phrasing was like listening to the original recording. " Beat It" , while well done, isn't a song I care for, and your gal sounds a little pitchy on it at times. "Feel Like A Woman" is well done. I would like to hear it rock a little harder with a little more passion. But all the performances were solid. I want to hear your gal singer just nail some Aretha or Tina Turner. Some hardcore R&B funk. I think she's got the chops to do it, and I wanna hear it.

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We can still do more on the drums. There is some compression and basic EQ, and a little reverb but it can be tweaked some more. I'm not super happy with how they sound, but my drummer has a specific way he likes to work things and he worries about too much low end coming out when you listen to it in places like the car. I popped the USB drive in my truck yesterday when we went out, and it definitely had a lot more bottom than what my PC speakers reproduce, so I see where he's coming from. His monitors are OK, not real studio monitors, but they sound pretty flat. These were all quick mixes, maybe an hour spent on each song. He had done a lot of the track cleanup prior- muting sections where nothing was happening, doing some general level setting, setting up mix busses to make it easy to route effects, even fixing some performance mistakes. We had completely screwed up the end of Feel Like a Woman, because our singer wasn't there when we recorded, and where the song ends, everyone but me kept playing. He somehow salvaged that with some creative cut and paste, and aside from a snare fill he usually does to set up the end, unless you know, it's hardly noticeable. He also fixed a couple mistakes the bass player made in another song- found the right note somewhere else, and pasted it in. Pretty cool stuff- Sonar is a powerful tool.

 

Beat It is definitely a tough song for her. We raised it up a half step so the guitar and bass could play in E, and there is a lot of melody that's up in her range, which combined with the phrasings, make it hard. I'll get the 60-90 seconds I need for the actual demo out of it, which is the ultimate goal.

 

We have some other stuff still to be mixed that she does a good job on, and we plan on doing some more recording as well. What's funny is we'll be playing a gig, and doing a song I wouldn't necessarily put on a demo, and I'll be thinking, hey we should record this one, it sounds great. Something like "Tell Me Something Good" or "Better Be Good To Me" she kills, but I'm not sure they are songs we would put on a demo.

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We raised it up a half step so the guitar and bass could play in E

 

 

Nothing against you guys, but is this sort of thing common?

 

Because, as a lead singer, if the band wanted to move a high song UP a half-step, I wouldn't know whether to laugh, cry, or throw up.

 

There are other workable solutions... right?

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We don't normally move keys for the players, but for that song, it was much easier to do in E than Eb. In the studio they probably tuned down or something. We don't have time for that on stage. I had thought we could do it in D, but E let's the bass player hit the C on his low B string if he wants.

 

We've moved keys for her on some songs. The version of "Every Time You Go Away" we do was moved from C to G- pretty drastic. Better Be Good To Me we moved up a whole step because the low range was too low for her. Home by Michale Buble we moved a good bit too, I think that was originally in G and we do it in D.

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